Why it's on the list: It's always a good idea to have an overhead pulling movement in your back routine, and the pull-up is one of the best. Each variation has its own advantages: Wide-grip variations are great for the upper lats, while close-grip chins or neutral-grip pull-ups have a greater stretch and overall range of motion. Mix it up!
Pull-up variations for back growth:
- Wide-grip pull-ups (overhand grip)
- Chin-ups (underhand grip)
- Neutral grip pull-ups (palms facing inward)
- Behind-the-head pull-ups
- Pull-ups on gymnastic rings
- Weighted pull-ups or chins
- Machine-assisted pull-ups
- Band-assisted pull-ups
- Spotter-assisted pull-ups
Don't discount those last three! Especially for heavier lifters, assisted variations are great back-builders. Do what you need to do to get into a muscle-building rep range.
In your workout: If you're a pull-up pro, you can do some light sets as a warm-up. If they're tougher for you, you can treat them more as a strength movement toward the start of your workout. Assisted variations make for great burnouts at the end of a back workout.